In a Weehawken Council meeting that largely revolved around policy, Mayor Richard Turner opposed President Donald Trump on his stances on climate change, health care and deportation.
In two add-on agenda items, Turner (also U.S. Rep. Albio Sires’ district director) announced that he and the township council would be supporting the Paris Climate Agreement and denouncing Trumpcare – the Republican alternative to Obamacare.
“Whereas on June 1st, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw the United States of America from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement … whereas the township council is clearly supporting climate action, recognizing that fighting climate change makes significant economic and public health benefits here in the township,” Turner read.
He joins Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer in opposing Trump’s decision to have the country leave the PCA.
The agreement, which included 195 different nations, is an initiative to come up with a financial plan to adapt and cut greenhouse gas emissions – beginning in the year 2020.
A second resolution denounced the adoption of Trumpcare, which Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) has previously said could cost half a million New Jerseyans their health insurance.
Hudson Civic Action Founder and Executive Director Steve Ramshur applauded his elected officials for taking initiative in these matters, but also said that he needed the governing body needed to pass a measure denouncing 287g.
287g is a controversial deal the county has with the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that allows corrections officers to be deputized in certain scenarios.
“The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justices model resolution for fair and welcoming communities, as well as a police directive – and I have a copy of it here if you’d like to review it – it is much more substantive and calls for a statement on the books that Weehawken will not voluntarily cooperate with ICE or DHS, unless required to do so by law,” Ramshur said.
He also said such a resolution would be the only one that would be satisfactory in this situation, expressing disappointment in the “fair and welcoming community” resolution passed by the West New York Board of Commissioners last month since it was largely symbolic.
Weehawken initially had a nearly identical resolution on last night’s agenda, but tabled the matter after Hudson County Civic Action members expressed their discontent with the measure.
Ramshur also implored the governing body to have it on the books that no township officials would ever ask someone about their documentation or immigration status.
Janice Ventura Condrack, the daughter of an immigrant who was detained by ICE on June 1st, explained her family’s struggle in front of the council.
“He’s obviously not a threat to society, my father, so obviously we’re worried. It’s a little inhumane and sickening,” she said, noting that her dad, Lazaro Ventura Borges, was first detained in 2008 during a routine check-in.
Turner, who offered to get Borges in touch with free legal services, said ICE has been around for the entire political careers of the officials up on the dais – they have just become more publicized in the Trump era.
“We have dealt with this for our entire political careers and your father’s case started in 1988, or ’91? Yea, ’92. More so now because a lot of residents that could’ve readily received citizenship didn’t,” explained Turner.
“People wait, things come up, expenses. So we’re dealing with a lot more of it now. And we’ve been able to come to an agreement with some of the outside agencies to provide legal services.”